The gluten-free industry is growing..but it may be because of the “nocebo” effect.
Listen to this: I went to the store to buy a notebook and the label on it read ‘gluten-free.’ For real! That’s the exact moment I thought, “This has gone a little too far…”
Gluten-free products are booming in business right now, popping up in every grocery store, coffee shop, and restaurant there is. But if you don’t have an allergy to gluten, why cut it out of your diet? Nutritionists say there isn’t one—and that it actually could be worse for you if you do.
If you’re going gluten-free just because, you should know some things first: 1. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other similar grains. 2. If you are allergic to this protein, it may be because you have a genetic autoimmune disorder called celiac disease. 3. Products that remove the gluten usually replace it with worse-for-you ingredients that have are usually more processed and have higher sugar and fat content.
Only about one percent of Americans actually have celiac disease and less than six percent may have a sensitivity to gluten in which they experience some or all symptoms of celiac. Here’s what’s happening, though: People who don’t have the true allergy may feel healthier when they give up gluten because they think gluten is what’s making them feel worse; this is called a “nocebo” effect.
Research has proven that if this diet is not done carefully, it can be unhealthy and even difficult to phase gluten back in. So what is it that's making this diet so popular amongst the health foodies? It’s because many people are choosing overall healthier lifestyles and because many gluten-y foods can cause people to feel sluggish; you have to remember that many people are getting more grains and less veggies than they probably need, so sometimes eating less gluten isn’t the worst idea. But like red meat, you would lose a valuable source of energy if you just cut it out altogether.
Bottom line: Whether it’s gluten-free or not, read the labels and make sure there aren’t unhealthy additives. Grab grains like quinoa and buckwheat, and to incorporate tons of veggies and lean meats (that both naturally contain no gluten) into your diets.